Find out what the round robin brainstorming technique is and how to utilize it below.

We’ve talked about brainstorming and ideation many times before, and that’s because it is an essential part of the innovation and design thinking process. Sometimes, the best way to approach brainstorming is to use a structured out-of-the-box approach that can help unlock new insights and prevent creativity blocks. In this article, we’ll discuss one such technique, called Round Robin. Learn more about this unique brainstorming approach, how to utilize it for success, and resources to explore for more details below.

What is Round Robin brainstorming? 

Round Robin is a more structured approach to brainstorming that provides the opportunity for everyone involved to get an equal chance to contribute to the discussion. A Round Robin session starts with a central topic, question, or problem to be addressed. Arranged in a circle, participants will work together by contributing their ideas and thoughts. Round Robin ensures every voice is heard and every perspective is considered, unlike more traditional brainstorm sessions that ask participants to just “jump in” when they have an idea.

The first participant selected to start the process will write or draw an idea on a piece of paper/notecard and pass it to the person on the right. Each participant will write down a new idea on the paper as it gets passed around, until a full circle has been completed. The session can then conclude with a group discussion and review of all of the ideas.

When should you use Round Robin brainstorming?

This technique is especially useful in situations where you are struggling to get feedback and input from every team member. Maybe some members feel anxious about jumping in during an open session, or others struggle to explain their thoughts. With this technique, you are guaranteed to hear from everyone in the group.

Another reason to consider Round Robin is that it can help you identify early roadblocks and obstacles that may prevent an idea from having value or taking. This format is great for valuing ideas and understanding them better, before investing too much time, work, or resources into really exploring them.

Round Robin brainstorming templates

Below are links to a few templates from commonly used virtual whiteboard tools that can help your in-person and remote working teams brainstorm together.

Round Robin brainstorming training options

If you’d like custom assistance walking through a session or facilitating an innovation workshop or design thinking training workshop, Innovation Training is here to help! Contact us with any questions you may have!

Looking for more resources and guides? Review these other relevant articles based on our experience running hundreds of brainstorming workshops and sessions.